2012 Team Outlook: Arizona

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2012 Team Outlook: Arizona

A fantasy football preview of the Cardinals this year. Profiled players include Kevin Kolb, John Skelton, Ryan Williams, LaRod Stephens-Howling, and Beanie Wells.

With a weapon like Pro-Bowl wideout Larry Fitzgerald at his disposal, Kevin Kolb is set up for success in Arizona (if he can stay healthy and hold onto the starting job). Kolb, who played in just nine games last season due to injuries, will have to beat out John Skelton for the starting job in the pre-season and will not have any fantasy value unless he does. Kolb has a tentative hold on the job for now and should hang onto the job going into the regular season. With the addition of rookie wide receiver Michael Floyd, Kolb has enough weapons to break out this season, but is nothing more than a late round selection with upside on draft day.

John Skelton will compete with incumbent Kevin Kolb for the Cardinals starting job in training camp, but the edge has to go to Kolb right now despite a strong pre-season by Skelton. The Fordham product threw more interceptions (14) than touchdowns (11) last season, but Arizona went 5-2 with him under center as opposed to just 3-7 with Kolb at the helm. If Kolb fails to stay healthy then Skelton will start, but even then his fantasy upside is extremely limited.

The highly touted Virginia Tech product was drafted by the Cardinals to challenge veteran Beanie Wells for a starting job last season, but underwent surgery to repair a torn patellar tendon in August and missed his entire rookie year. Ryan Williams, who is fully healthy now, should be viewed by fantasy owners as a handcuff to Wells with the potential to take on a larger role in the offense at some point this season.

Injury Status: Injured Reserve

A talented kick returner, LaRod Stephens-Howling is expected to back up Beanie Wells and Ryan Williams this season for Arizona. Stephens-Howling caught 13 passes for 234 yards and a pair of touchdowns, but ran for only 167 yards on 43 carries last season. Unless injuries decimate the Cardinals backfield, Stephens-Howling can be ignored in all fantasy leagues this season.

Beanie Wells played through a nagging knee injury and enjoyed the most productive season of his career eclipsing 1,000 yards rushing and scoring double-digit touchdowns last season. Wells will have some competition for carries in the Arizona backfield with second year running back Ryan Williams fully healthy, but fantasy owners should still consider Wells a solid number two option this season.

Despite the inconsistency at the quarterback situation in Arizona, Larry Fitzgerald recorded his fifth consecutive season of at least 80 receptions and 1,000 yards last year. Fitzgerald is the model of consistency at the wide receiver position in fantasy football. If Kevin Kolb can stay healthy and rookie Michael Floyd is productive, Fitzgerald will put up monster numbers this season. Fantasy owners should target Fitzgerald as one of the top-five wide receivers on draft day.